The 2018 “Houston Live”, which is a NCAA certified event, is a pre GASO showcase for several teams heading down I-45 for the 4 day even t in Dallas. This year’s field which included the Houston Defenders 16’s, 17’s, Texas PRO, Team Stackz, & others had several prospects that schools in attendance like Rice, Sam Houston, Texas State, University of Houston, Lamar and Sam Houston have high interest in. The 6pm game which featured Houston Defenders 17’s vs Team Stackz, was a back & forth battle as the Defenders jumped out early to an 11 point lead behind the play of 2019 G 6’1 Pierce Hellums (Concordia Lutheran HS). Hellums went 3-6 from 3 point land, connecting on all three shots in the 1st half. Stackz bounced back behind the play of arguably the hottest name in the city of Houston among college coaches, 2019 6’3 Jesse Zarzuela (Spring Woods HS) & 2020 6’8 James Huefner(Yes Prep North Central), who knocked down several mid range jumpers and went toe to toe with the Defenders’ bigger interior players. The second half Stackz closed the gap to 1 point before the UA team went on a 10-0 run capped by 2019 6’3 Nicolas Elame (CFLC) who threw down two ferocious dunks to seal the deal.
One 7pm game was the Houston Raptors Elite vs Red Cloud. The Raptors are an intriguing, scrappy group that embodies the spirit of their director Bobby Benjamin. Their frontcourt duo of 2019 6’6 Chimaobi Ezekwesili (Westside HS) & 6’9 Bonke Maring (Cy Springs HS) dominated the glass and paint, giving their team extra possessions, and had some really athletic finishes inside. Sam Houston HS standout 2019 G Chris Green lead the charge from the perimeter connecting on several 3 pointers, and got some easy baskets in transition. The other 7pm game GrindTime Elite 2021 vs Houston Hoops Shelton, was a contest of some of the younger talent in the city. 2021 G Deveon Taylor (North Shore HS) is a name people need to get familiar with ASAP as he dominated both games he played in. Tough, quick, strong, and efficient! Those are the attributes that the college coaches in attendance wrote down as they watched the 5’9 PG. His high school teammate Jakari Marshal caught fire hitting 7 long range bombs, as they stretched the lead out for the victory.
In the most entertaining game of the night, Houston Defenders 16’s took on Texas PRO 17’s, which is comprised of their 16’s and 17’s. The Defenders started the game 9-1, getting some offensive put backs and knocking down a couple of open 3’s. PRO then woke up and the game was intense as 2020 F Eddie Lampkin (Morton Ranch HS), 2020 G Justin Hill (Travis HS), and 2021 G Noah Kon (Houston Christian HS) were the front runners of the early lead for the Defenders. Christian Brandon (Bellaire HS), sparked PRO with his end to end energy, he also showed that he has improved his handle and is more aggressive offensively. 2020 F Nate Martin (Cy Creek HS) matched Lampkin’s intensity and took the challenge personally as the two had of war of words all game. The game was going back and forth util 2020 G Dylan Dawson (Atascocita HS) took over the game late scoring on 3 straight possessions in the last 2 minutes of the game. This rivalry won’t be dying down anytime soon.
Look forward to seeing some of these players and more in the GASO this weekend.